RV Cats - How To Travel With Cats While Maintaining Your Sanity

by frugalrvers

Living in an rv with cats is possible - but you need to plan ahead for your feline friends. The RV cat has special needs, so be sure to read these tips!

RVing and cats are two words most people never consider putting together. But fortunately our kitties took to the rv lifestyle just fine. Of course, you must cater to their every need and plan accordingly. Basically, you will quickly get over the irrational thought that this is YOUR CAMPER and soon recognize that, no, the cats actually rule...

Of course, cats have various quirks and personalities - but we are here to tell you that there are things you can do to put them at ease. We were also quite surprised by their positive response. We pictured it being like taking them in a car, where they went crazy...but it wasn't like that at all!

An Introduction To RVing With Cats

How Our RV Became A Kitty Camper

The RV cat - where to begin? We certainly didn't intend to travel the country with our kitties, but our decision to start rving full time left us no other options...they are family, and they were packing their little suitcases and coming with.

Our Cat Spot, On The Captain's Chair

We knew from the start that our finicky felines were going to need a lot of help from us, to make this a smooth transition...not only for them, but for us. Visions of shredded furniture, tripping over the litterbox and their escaping out the front door terrorized us into spending countless hours of problem-solving, before pulling out of the driveway. Of course we also pictured them running immediately under the bed, never to be seen or heard from again.

Well...they adjusted quickly and, as usual, run the household on their terms. No adjustment problems here! In fact, we have an older lab mix, Hannah, and they dictate to her where she can lay...and swat at her when she gets in their personal space (which is the entire length of the motorhome).

Before sharing our tips on what you will need to prepare for with your camping cat, we will say that, with the exception of pet hair, they always make us smile. Our gigantic rv cat, Spot, is always entertaining and definitely rules the roost. They seem happier than ever, in this smaller environment...we like to think it is because we are around all the time, too...but we know they will never admit it.

A Photo Of Our Camping Cats

Meet Our Little Lovebirds - Spot and Toto
Spot and Toto On Motorhome Dashboard
Spot and Toto On Motorhome Dashboard

Cheap And Easy RV Living Tips With Your Feline

Let's Start With The Quick And Affordable Hints First

Though we stand by cheap rv living, there were some purchases we had to make, which you will see further down in our article. But first, we will begin with the easy tips, which we've implemented inside of our motorhome.


This is always one of the first questions on an rver's mind - and we have it solved! We have owned a travel trailer and motorhome, and it has worked in both campers. We buy two rubber storage bins for pennies at thrift stores, and stack them together. Then we fill it halfway with a large bag of kitty litter. The bins fit perfectly in our shower stall. The cats love the privacy shower curtain. Our bathroom has a vent with a fan, for "odors." You needn't change it often, due to the amount of litter, but when the time comes we simply dump the one out, grab the clean one underneath and fill it, rinse the other bin out, let it dry and stack it under the new litter bin. The only downfall is the weight to pick it up when you shower daily. If you have weight restrictions, you could put just a little litter inside so it is lightweight. Honestly, this works like a charm and the dog can't get into it either! One other tip, to help your cat get into the shower, we put a sturdy floor mat over the shower edge to assist with getting in and out.


We are big into custom decorating our rvs with our own style, from ceiling to floor, including painting, flooring and curtains. Often, you can find wonderful, funky fabric at thrift stores, to throw on beds, couches, etc. Just find fabric that pet hair doesn't stick to. We have slate blue and gray in our bedroom, and we stumbled on a metallic gray fabric for $1.00/yard. Sewed it together and it is a beautiful throw over our gray quilt...but hair doesn't stick and it can be shaken off in an instant. So be on the lookout for throws that are easy to shake - washing is tiresome. Also, we ripped out all carpeting and laid different vinyl flooring in each room - plus kept the living room floors "wood" and painted them a deep, chocolate brown with porch paint. Makes cleaning easier...just some area rugs to wash now.

Because we feel certain that declawing cats is inhumane, we had to find other alternatives. We have found that just putting loose throws over dinette cushions and chairs keeps scratching at bay, because there is no resistance to hook on to. Also, you might consider Soft Claws nail covers for cats, if your cat has a bad shredding everything he/she sees type of problem.


Storage in an rv is tight, but don't take up all potential cat hideaways with your gear, Dedicate under the bed or couch for times they need peace. If your rv doesn't have any underneath space opportunities, leave the dinette area open or buy a little cat cube for a safe little space for your cat. When a motorhome starts moving, for example, they will often look for a place to hide because, let's face it, it is a little creepy for your house to be rolling!


If our cats could talk, they would say that what they love most about rv life is that rvs are full of windows...everywhere!! Our motorhome has a huge dashboard, and when we are parked we put their cat bed on it...they spend most days sunbathing in the spot you see in our photo. But the top of the couch, counters and so many more sunny spaces are also available to choose from...so give your kitties a few perches, to keep them happy.


Screen doors on rvs can be easily pushed on and opened - be sure to either add a hook inside or block the exit if you have a cat that is an escape artist.


Below you will find a list of cat items you will need while rving, including our favorite outdoor cat enclosure, the folding playpen. While browsing, keep in mind that COLLAPSIBLE IS KEY!!! You just won't have storage space otherwise. Here are the items we could never live without...an initial expense, but a necessity that has made our lives so much easier. We hope you've found these tips useful - camping with cats can be a very rewarding experience...as long as you keep on catering to their every need!




Outdoor Cat Shelters For Ultimate Safety

Portable, Outdoor Cat Houses Because They Need Fresh Air, Too!
Outdoor Feline FunhouseABO Gear Happy Habitat for Indoor CatsBest Pet Folding Play Pen - Medium - ...

A Collapsible Cat Carrier And Cat Harness

For Trips To The Vet Or Unexpected Roadside Emergencies
Petnation by Firstrax Port-A-Crate E2...Kitty Holster Cat Harness - M/L BlackCome With Me Kitty Harness and Bungee...


Dry rot tires on an rv tire are no laughing matter. Having survived losing two while on the highway, we do laugh at our ignorance, but want to pass on this rv safety tip to you!
We will show you how to calculate gas mileage and how to figure how much gas you need for a trip, to help keep that rv fuel cost travel budget accurate!
Recently we traveled 1,600 miles in our '93 Bounder motorhome. Living on the cheap in our rv, we tried Walmart RV parking for the first time, loving the free rv campground savings!
Portable waste tanks can be a lifesaver for rvers. We will review the two most popular brands, Thetford SmartTote And Barker Tote Along, and help you decide if you need one, too!

And....Just For Laughs!!

Updated: 05/22/2018, frugalrvers
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Do You Have Tips On Traveling With Cats?

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Teresa Thomas on 09/29/2017

My Husband and I live in a Heartland Prowler P292 with our three kitties. Our oldest loved it the first time she inspected it. The other two gave it a few weeks, but they're now settled in.
I'm trying to incorporate a cat tree into our small space. They love looking out the windows, I've set up some bird feeders to attract the outside entertainment.
I really enjoyed your article. Thank you for you insights.
Happy RVing.
Teresa, Hapa, Cleo, and Harley.

Stayc on 03/18/2017

Curious. Wondering how you all traveled with cats in the travel trailer. Did u all keep them in the car with you or the camper? We are moving cross country and have not picked a final destination home but must take our scared cat that has never moved with us. She is very sweet but afraid of everything. We will be full time travel trailing with her. Any suggestions. Also do u all have to have ur shot records for the cats for RV stays.

Brad & Kellie on 02/15/2017

We are full time RVers with two kitties & one small dog. The wife and I looked all over for a small Cat Tree / Cat Condo for our RV and all were way to big. So we decided to make one and came up with what we call "RV Kitty Catwalk" Our cats love it. It provided our kitties with a playground, a place to sleep, exercise and something to scratch besides our furniture.

Summer on 04/21/2016

Joyce, we have added a thin metal mesh on top of our screen door, to keep the animals from pushing through.

Joyce on 02/03/2016

We are traveling with a cat and he was ok until I decided he needed fresh air and since he is leash trained I took him outside. Now he tries to escape every chance he gets sliding window screens and jumping out the window. He has pushed the sceen on the door in twice and escaped. We are fixing it for the 3rd time with pet screen but I also think we should put a screen guard on the door. Any one have any suggestions?

Jurinne on 12/27/2015

I am planning on living in a Class B for a year or two and I have two neurotic cats that are going to have to come with me. Now I know some tips to keep them happy and healthy. Thank you.

Jessica on 11/04/2015

I am in the process of buying a 36 foot fifth wheel but thankfully it will just be me and my two cats living there so its them first and me second

frugalrvers on 03/06/2015

Good luck with all of your "copilots!!" Happy TAILS!

artmomlisa on 03/01/2015

Love this article, thanks! I have 4 indoor cats and a 100lb lab, and they're pretty much family, so On The Road we go!!

frugalrvers on 06/10/2013

Thank you Dustytoes!

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